A Woman’s Right to Choose
I have been committed to protecting the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade by maintaining a 100 percent pro-choice voting record. I believe that the decision to have an abortion is between a woman and her doctor, not the government. I support abortions that are rare, safe, and legal. And, we must ensure that those men and women who provide these services are protected from violence and intimidation.
In May 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposed further restrictions on woman's reproductive rights. Acting as a political agency for the Bush administration, they refused to make emergency contraceptives – popularly known as the morning-after pill – available over the counter. This decision was made in direct contradiction to the agency's own experts' recommendation that the pill was both safe and effective. The experts additionally found that giving it over-the-counter status would prevent thousands of abortions each year and would greatly reduce unintended and unwanted pregnancies.
I have also voted against the 2003 law that banned “partial-birth abortion,” because these abortions are rarely performed and only in cases of fatal fetal anomalies or threat to the life of the mother. In this tragic circumstance, this procedure is for many women the safest medical option and the best hope to save the life and future fertility of the mother. The so called "partial-birth abortion" legislation that does not allow exceptions to protect the mother's health is completely unacceptable.
Thankfully, the Obama administration is dedicated to preserving a woman’s right to choose while supporting measures that will decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies. In January 2009, President Obama reversed the Bush administration’s policy by lifting the ban on federal funding for international groups that promote or perform abortions.Unfortunately, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives is moving our nation in a strong anti-choice direction, focusing on taking away Americans’ access to basic health care services and threatening the health of millions of women. I do not believe that Congress or the courts have a right to place restrictions on a woman’s Constitutionally-protected freedom of choice. Rest assured that I will continue to defend a woman’s right to choose and do everything in my power to oppose the passage of anti-choice legislation. Improving the health and well-being of all women and girls is my priority. I will also continue to support legislative efforts that help increase access to the health care services and information that women need and deserve.
The prevalence of gender discrimination continues to permeate society and leave millions of women disenfranchised, exploited, and without adequate, fulfilling employment opportunities.
Over 50 years have passed since the Equal Pay Act was enacted. And yet, equal pay for equal work still ceases to be a reality for all Americans. On average, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, regardless of race. The wage gap is not only a gender, but also a racial disparity. African American women earn just 70 cents for every dollar paid to men and just 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. The disparity for Latina women is even larger, who on average earn a mere 56 cents for every dollar made by similarly situated non-Hispanic men. This wage discrepancy amounts to an annual loss of $23,279.
While people of color generally continue to face socio-economic inequalities in the 21st century, women of color often bear the major part of these inequities. The truth is that women of color have had to confront and overcome double oppression - racism and sexism. As a result, they are often subjected to unequal treatment, unequal pay, and unequal lives to their white male and white female counterparts.For example, African American and Hispanic women are 2.5 times more likely to be steered into a more costly home mortgage loan than white women. Women of color are incarcerated at a rate of 3.7 times than that of white women.
Last congress, I was a proud co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act and Fair Minimum Wage Act, two bills that would take significant steps to improve pay equity and increase penalties on employers paying discriminatory wages, however more must be done to ensure that all women can participate fully and equally in our economy. For these reasons, I am also proud to support When Women Succeed, America Succeeds, the Democratic agenda aimed at addressing the most pressing economic issues facing women and minorities in our nation today. This agenda highlights the need for realizing paycheck fairness, investing in job training and employment opportunities for women, improving workers rights through family and maternity leave, and raising the minimum wage. These initiatives are an essential part of ensuring wage and employment equality for women.I strongly believe that a legislative sweep for women’s equal pay and equal treatment will give women of color an immediate economic boost. I pledge to continue working towards this important goal, and am committed to working to end wage discrimination in our country once and for all.
While people of color generally continue to face socio-economic inequalities in the 21st century, women of color often bear the major part of these inequities. The truth is that women of color have had to confront and overcome double oppression - racism and sexism. As a result, they are often subjected to unequal treatment, unequal pay, and unequal lives to their white male and white female counterparts. This concept is repulsing and must be stopped.
For example, African American and Hispanic women are 2.5 times more likely to be steered into a more costly home mortgage loan than white women. Women of color are incarcerated at a rate of 3.7 times that of white women.
I strongly believe that a legislative sweep for women’s equal pay and equal treatment will give women of color an immediate economic boost. Further, I recently hosted a Congressional staff briefing which highlighted the prevalence and perverse impact of housing and lending discrimination on minority women, especially those with children. I have also worked tirelessly to put an end to racial profiling and other criminal justice issues which disproportionately affect women of color.
Violence against women
Nearly one in three women globally will be beaten, raped, mutilated or otherwise abused during their lifetimes. Violence against women not only defies their basic human rights, but also negatively impacts a woman’s physical, mental and reproductive health. Furthermore, this violence threatens the overall health and development of families and communities.
Throughout my time in Congress, I have fought to protect victims of violence regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, status, or gender. In 1993, during my first term in the House of Representatives, I co-sponsored the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In the 111th Congress, I was a co-sponsor of the International Violence Against Women Act, which would coordinate U.S. efforts to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls by developing culturally competent strategies that prevent violence against women, and integrating the empowerment of women into U.S. foreign policy and assistance programs. When the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 was enacted, we took a historic step forward in addressing sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking and other forms of violence against women. This legislation established new criminal and civil enforcement tools for holding perpetrators accountable and provided victims with the ability to seek justice and have access to a network of support options.
Although the law has been highly successful in combating domestic violence, our efforts are far from over because unfortunately domestic violence is still too common in the United States. The finding that one in four women are subjected to domestic violence throughout the course of their lifetimes is startling. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, over 1.3 million experience domestic violence annually.While the law helps to criminalize violence against women, work still remains in areas of prevention and eradication. September 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of VAMA, I believe that we must continue to raise public awareness of the importance of this act, and uphold our nation’s promise to protect victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and abuse. Girls and women remain the main targets of violence, intimidation, and trafficking. Cutting-edge programs must be developed to tackle the issues of domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape. Educating our communities about ways they can prevent and rid society of this plague is essential.